20

Lt. Dax routinely walks and stands with her hands clasped behind her back.

Here's the clearest capture I could get, from "Blood Oath":

A still from the aforementioned episode, showing Lieutenant Jadzia Dax walking away from the camera, with her hands clasped behind her back.

The out-of-universe story is what really interests me. However, the in-universe explanation is relatively easy to find, so might as well include both in the answer.

3
  • Hey @ThePopMachine: if you're wondering about all the tag edits, they're to do with achieving consistency as per meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/9184 (you've just happened to have asked a lot of Trek questions, so naturally you'll be seeing these more than others). Hope all is well.
    – Praxis
    Apr 24 '16 at 20:24
  • @Praxis, thanks for the explanation. I did get a bunch of onesie upvotes on random old questions, I guess just because of the attention due to activity. Apr 25 '16 at 3:29
  • Whatever the reason, Ezri adopted the same gesture. Nov 26 '21 at 1:15
33

To avoid smudging her makeup.

Your question has excellent timing, as actress Terry Farrell provided the out-of-universe explanation only a few months ago:

The makeup itself provided yet another challenge. The spots being initially done in watercolour, she had to keep her neck very stiff to avoid smudging. Terry’s modelling training provided a solution: She began standing very straight with her hands behind her back. This quickly became her trademark stance: “Once I owned that, no one else could!”

(Source — Terry Farrell interview / panel Toronto ComicCon 2015)

The in-universe explanation is that Jadzia inherited the behaviour from Lela, the Dax symbiont's first host, as revealed in DS9 "Facets". As a politician, Lela clasped her hands behind her back to keep control of her gesturing during public addresses.

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  • 2
    Oh.. (disappointed) and there I was, hoping it would be to maximize and showcase the breast mound! "Sorry, the breast mound?" Oct 4 '15 at 7:46
  • 1
    I'm sort of disappointed she doesn't claim it's a mannerism she invented to convey her long life and wisdom. So much for the craft. Oct 4 '15 at 15:12
  • 1
    @ThePopMachine: Indeed. I had somehow hoped it was a slight hommage to Spock, with Jadzia being the first designated science officer in a Star Trek series since TOS that we saw. Oct 4 '15 at 15:40
  • @Praxis While you're updating this, the interview link is dead...
    – DavidW
    Nov 26 '21 at 1:48

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